A Christmas Carol is making its return for the 7th year this year. Produced by Matthew Warchus and adapted by Jack Thorne, the show retells the classic originally written by Charles Dickens in 1843.
This year the show stars Christopher Eccleston as Scrooge, Rob Compton as Bob Cratchit and Julie Jupp as the Ghost of Christmas Past.
The whole experience is an entirely immersive one from the moment you walk in, when you are greeted with actors in Victorian garb playing instruments and handing out warm mince pies and satsumas to the audience.
The set itself is minimal, using moving props along with a stage that stretches out into the audience, allowing the actors to pass along to mimic the sense of walking through Victorian streets, with hanging lanterns from above which are definitely a sight to behold when you first enter the auditorium.
Christopher Eccleston really embodies the character of Scrooge, giving him that classic grouchy and cold demeanour, which gradually subsides to reveal the redeemed man underneath.
His performance as Scrooge was moving and skilful as he grappled with his sense of humanity while learning the lessons of his past, present and future.
One of the notable things that really modernised the show was that all of the Ghosts of Christmas past, present and future are cast as female roles compared to the original tale.
Julie Jupp, who plays The Ghost of Christmas Past, really gives the character a sweet and wise demeanour, if not slightly comical too.
Gemma Knight Jones gave a fantastic performance as The Ghost of Christmas Present, giving the apparition a fiery and driven nature.
Rose Shalloo, who plays Little Fan, completely embodied the role of Scrooge’s younger sister, making her both caring and compassionate whilst driven to care for her older brother.
The audience are also invited towards the end to participate, as Scrooge enlists them as “neighbours” to help transport a whole host of food to the Cratchit house, as nets are suspended from the upper balcony and used to slide countless potatoes and veg down to the stage below.
The audience may even find themselves with a parachuted brussels sprout on their lap before a large turkey is propelled down the stage on a zip wire.
The actors also take an active role in the music of the show, with singing as well as the choir of handbell players, performing a host of traditional Christmas Carols.
One of the final carols at the end of the show, “See Amid the Winter Snow”, sent shivers down my spine.
The show ends in a flurry of snow and a final performance of handbells from the actors, who play a closing rendition of Silent Night to mark the end of the show.
A Christmas Carol is a true masterpiece, skilfully executed and a wonderful piece of immersive theatre to see this Christmas.
What you need to know
A Christmas Carol will be playing at the Old Vic until January 6, 2024.
The show has a running time of 2 hours and 30 minutes and is suitable for children aged eight and above.
Tickets start at £13 during off-peak times and £15 during peak times.